Many paths traverse Cwm Nantcol – from over Y Rhinogydd, or Llanbedr. Once we hiked up from the south. Having just crossed Pont Scethin – the bridge used by drovers leading cattle from the coastal plain to Dolgellau and English markets beyond, we had farming on our minds.

The bwlch on Moelfre proved a good spot for contemplation. Y Rhinogydd were blushing as the sun slid towards the sea. Below us, drystone walls radiated from scattered farms in glorious scribbles. Sheep nibbled the hills, and cattle lowed nearer the river.

Neolithic peoples who left tombs around Afon Ysgethin, were the first farmers. Bronze-Age hill deforestation followed – for grazing livestock on what was initially, fertile soil. Both soil and climate had deteriorated by the Iron Age, and peat developed.

Read more in the September 2022 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine